Penn Charter's field hockey team went 2-1 in early non-league games, but the Quakers then started the Inter-Ac League season.
Penn Charter's field hockey team went 2-1 in early non-league games, but the Quakers then started the Inter-Ac League season last Thursday by making a road trip to take on the traditionally-strong squad at the Academy of Notre Dame. Going into the contest at less than full strength, PC succumbed to the Irish, 10-0, to level off at 2-2 for the season.
At a relatively late stage, Penn Charter had found itself looking for a new head field hockey coach for 2023. Rachel Dyer, who has coached the team before, stepped in once more to guide the program. She is a PC graduate and parent, and works in the school's IT department.
Assisting her, and overseeing the JV team, is Denise Jenkinson.
When the Quakers arrived at Notre Dame last Thursday, they found that changes had been made there, as well. Longtime head field hockey coach Adele Williams, who presided over one of the top programs in the Inter-Ac and in the Philadelphia region for 18 years, has left the sideline to assume the title of Director of Coaching.
She continues to work in the school's business office, while the new head coach of the hockey team is Brandi Ritz, a former assistant coach at Montclair (N.J.) State University and Stevens Institute of Technology.
Notre Dame's new athletic director is Sheila Pauley, who served in the same role at the old Springside School and at Agnes Irwin School.
As if it wasn't enough of a challenge for Penn Charter to start the league season against a perennial hockey power, the Quakers were also dealing with some personnel issues. To start with, junior Delaney Duffy, also a lacrosse player for PC, has been sidelined for medical reasons and is serving as the team manager. Away on college visits were junior Kenighan Mattice and sophomore Molly Dougherty, both regular starters, and also senior Katie Fitzpatrick, a veteran reserve player.
In addition, regular starting goalie Aliyah Leonard, a sophomore, was out of action for a spell after suffering a concussion. Charter's JV keeper, freshman Nora Steinbrook, stepped into the breach.
The other PC starters against the Irish were seniors Zady Hasse, Colleen McLafferty, Keira Thorell and Grace Walter, juniors Fiona Brady, Kendall Small, Eva Walter and Madison Wray, and sophomores Ana Buckley and Harbor Campbell.
Notre Dame held a relatively modest 2-0 lead after the first quarter of play, but four more markers followed in the next period for a 6-0 halftime count. The Irish scored four times after the intermission for a 10-0 final as senior Saylor Milone came away with four goals.
Since Steinbrook, the regular JV goalie, had to play in the varsity game, the Quakers looked for another athlete to fill the cage in the junior varsity match. Grace Walter, who has committed to William and Mary for lacrosse, valiantly answered the call for her team, eventually figuring out what pads went where and taking the field.
In terms of their league schedule, the Penn Charter sticksters have been tossed right into the deep end of the pool. Next up for the Quakers is defending Inter-Ac champion Episcopal Academy.